It is an old and wide held Mexican tradition to celebrate, in a lavish party, the 15thbirthday of girls, when as a rite of passage, they become women.
Puerta Abierta in a sense, is now a 15-year old girl, passing from childhood, to become a young adult organization, from the early years of energy and hope, to the present stage with more experience, lasting bonds among our girls, and within the extended Puerta Abierta family, including donors and benefactors. And consequently, with larger projects and a look towards a better future. Trial and error efforts transformed into learning experiences, for the girls, house mothers, helpers, donors and the Board have shaped that “girl” organization into a “young woman”, with larger goals and expectations.
We will invite you to donate today, as it is Bonus Day and whatever you give, GlobalGiving will match depending on the donation, so please help our girls as we are growing with a second children’s home opening in a few weeks form now.
We have all learned that perseverance, tolerance to frustration, responsibility, commitment, and hard work are necessary to continue moving forward and get on to next stage.
Our girls - young women, some now in college, make decisions every day, that shape their present and envisions a future that some time ago were only dreams. But this is a continuing story, as love bonds, thankfulness and dreams continue to develop and grow, and with a stronger hope for the future. All of us near the girls, in a sense, have turned into their accomplices for those dreams.
So today, we want to celebrate these 15 years of Puerta Abierta, with a great passage-of-age party, for dreams come true, and many others to be fulfilled. We thank you for being part of Puerta Abierta and for taking care of this beautiful growing young endeavor.
To be a mother! What a challenge is to be a mother, what a challenge is even to define it, let alone be one. There are so many challenges and requisites, that we even ask ourselves:
Is it even possible to be perfect at it? Mothers, like all of us human beings, are full of limitations. However, it is love that empowers them to overcome those limitations, and help their offspring grow with guidance and care.
Being a mother is complicated, to say the least. If that is true for a natural mother, what a challenge it is for Lucy, our beloved mother. She lovingly embraces our girls, while they need to slowly accept her, as a mother figure, with all its dimensions, as authority, slowly building trust with care and patience, and eventually, after some time, true love, respect and thankfulness.
Lucy´s mother role has been quite a challenge and in a single word, an Odyssey!!
Having formed her own family, she has a very clear role as to what a mother needs and should be, starting with love for her children, inspiring trust and security. Having these as a foundation, she instills in our girls the desire to develop their intellectual skills, search for knowledge, ideals, a vision of their future, with strong values that are lived every day.
Today, as a result of this love and stimulation, care for their needs, and pursuit of opportunities, we have three college students. Studying and working part-time, they are developing their professional skills while gaining self-esteem and security. All, while serving as a living example for their siblings following on their steps.
Lucy has had her heart grabbed by her new PA daughters.
It has been quite a journey, from an initial managerial job, to a full motherly involvement, loving each girl individually and all of them becoming her “heart-daughters”. As all mother-daughter relationships, it is two-sided: Lucy dedicated in heart and soul to them, and all the girls admiring, trusting and loving her, as she has developed their emotional stability, security and self-esteem.
This “mother-of-the heart” role poses a double challenge. The responsibility of a role model for the girls, so that in time, they are prepared to be mothers too. Setting forth the role-model they could not have from their natural mother. The second challenge, is that with this example, they are able to build their own healthy and loving families, in spite of their troubled and painful past.
In Puerta Abierta, as in all families, there are children that can be easily molded or can adapt better to family values and habits than others.
Our youngest girl, 11 years old, is cheerful, outgoing and generally very extrovert. But is also always challenging house rules. She knows she is loved by all, but at the same time takes advantage of both conditions, being loved and the youngest.
Having strong female role models in the family, sometimes she feels empowered to decide what is best for her and sometimes even worst, for some other family members, including the staff.
This behavior creates chaos in the house and eventually troubles her deeply, because she does not achieve some privileges she is looking for. She needs to know and accept her limits as well as accept that authority is to be acknowledged and respected.
On the other side of the equation, we adults working with her, must also acknowledge that this is a slow process, and that it requires strategies that work with her character.
Adults must serve as role models, so getting angry or just shouting an order, is out of the question. This is a difficult action to balance, how to retain authority in the face of a continuous behavioral challenge. The main purpose is that Ximena realize that her impulsive behavior leads her to a problematic scenario.
Ximena, when in peace, is ingenious, loving and a delight to be with. We need to reinforce these emotions in order to learn which is the correct way to behave and her goals will achieve.
Some of the strategies we have implemented for her is a program of exercise as football, at school and swimming classes outside school. She has art classes once a week. She used to go emotional therapy as well as learning therapy.
All adults working with her must be coached not to lose objectivity, when their authority is put to the test by a twelve year old girl.
With the help of educational and psychological or neurological counsel, love and firm guidance on behalf of her tutors, slowly she is showing signs of advance in her behavior, and her charm as a young woman, leaving childhood is becoming less painful.
At Puerta Abierta we have learned that in order to win a war, we need to fight one battle at a time, while attending to the needs of each girl. We need to be warm, patient and firm, and enjoy the girls as they grow up, while watching their evolving personalities.
Today I want to tell you about family as December is family, it’s time to be part of a family, to belong, to feel loved. When you don´t have family this is the time of the year you dare most, as it will remember you how lonely you are. Every child deserves a loving family don’t you agree? But this is not true to every child as it was not for our girls. All of our girls were separated from their families as the family was inflicting violence against them and in order to protect them our government through the children head office DIF took them into their custody.
But don’t be sad, our girls have a loving family a different one that has formed 14 years ago, so for them this is their family, they one they love and cherish. They remember their biological family and sometimes they feel sad but they know how privileged and loved they are now.
I will tell you a little more of what happens in this family in December, all of them will be out of school on holidays at least a week and this time is when family builds, traditions are important and we take care that it happens. Every year we have dinner party with them a few days before Christmas as we, the board and staff are the extended family, they now collaborate in the organization and preparation, as any other family everybody helps, I am in charge of the pasta, Ximena the youngest is in charge of the name tags for the table as she is very creative and so on.
We will have presents but most of all we will spend time with them and enjoy each of them.
The 24ththey will have a very nice Christmas dinner, a Mexican Christmas with a posada, this is involves a piñata and ponche a traditional warm drink with fruits . Before having their Christmas dinner they will go and help to prepare warm food for more vulnerable people because now they are safe, loved and privileged.
On the 25thmorning Ximena, very early will wake up all the girls to open the presents, every year we ask them to write with 3 options for a group of donors that every year gets them their presents. Most of them have asked for tennis and warm clothes, Magui the eldest asked for a turtle house as she owns a turtle, it has been in their home for 8 years now! Al of them surely will get a surprise as these donors are sensible to their needs as you are.
We want to thank you because you have built a family for them, there is no way we measure in numbers or money what this means for them, it means the world to them, a loving family that protects them and offers them the opportunity to become independent and self-sufficient and lead a life without violence. Imagine how much it is worth, as you can see there is no way to measure this.
Thanks again for this invaluable opportunity for them!
My name is Margarita, many of you have read about me these past few years. You´ve helped and supported my education and I am beyond grateful, thankful and it´s all thanks to you.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself, a long time ago (15 years ago to be exact), I didn’t really have a hopeful vision of myself, in fact I didn’t even really see a future. Things at home were terrible and painful and the people who were supposed to protect me and guide me trough life were the ones inflicting these terrible feelings and sad experiences. I justified it by telling myself maybe I was in the wrong, maybe if I behaved better and tried to do better, things would change.
Now I know this wasn’t right, it wasn’t right for a child my age to feel like this. Each and every one of us deserves to have a home filled with happy moments, with loving parents and a family that nurtures you and guarantees your safety. Ever since I arrived at Puerta Abierta, my vision of family is different; they loved me from the beginning, respected me and opened my mind to the possibility of a bright future.
Puerta Abierta has not only given me the love and education I deserve. They have given me all the opportunities I never ever dreamt in a million years. . At 22 I am the oldest girl, however it’s been a journey of 15 years, Puerta Abierta and the girls living there are my family. Today I am enrolled in University; I have a steady job and a boyfriend who´s become part of my family. My life has changed and keeps on changing and becoming better.
Today I am here to tell you a story of happiness and hope, and it´s thanks to your help that my reality is this today. You’ve impacted and continue to impact our foundation with your donations and hopeful comments.
Today you can keep supporting our dreams, In honor to #GivingTuesday, @GlogalGiving is matching a portion of all donations. Donate today!
Thank you for supporting Puerta Abierta as this has made my dreams and all the girls dreams come to true.
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